Negros Occidental

Baby’s breath flowers help fund struggling Negros Occidental student’s dream

Reymund Titong

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Baby’s breath flowers help fund struggling Negros Occidental student’s dream

SELF-SUPPORT. Student Joseph E. Navarro cultivates flowering plants in their backyard in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town in Negros Occidental, to fund his college education independently.

Reymund Titong/Rappler

For some people like 25-year-old Joseph E. Navarro, the flowers symbolize purity and hope

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – A college student from an impoverished family is struggling to achieve his life dream of completing his education in Sitio PNOC Uno, Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town, Negros Occidental.

Twenty-five-year-old Joseph E. Navarro told Rappler how challenging it is to balance his schooling with farming to meet his academic needs since his parents do not have enough money to support his studies. He is the second of Garry and Candida Navarro’s three children.

Navarro comes from an impoverished household, which has always relied on a farming-based way of life.

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Navarro cultivates various varieties of baby’s breath flowers (Gypsophila), a flowering plant belonging to the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae. For some people like Navarro, these flowers symbolize purity and hope.

When it comes to flowering plants, he prefers to cultivate baby’s breath flowers because they require less care than other types of flowers, he said. 

Navarro spends almost every weekend in their backyard, cultivating flowering plants to earn income for his education and family.

“The situation I am in right now is really difficult. During weekends, I harvest my planted flowers, dry them, and have them ready for sale. This way, I can earn income to support my education,” he said.

Navarro must wake up early in the morning to assist his parents in preparing their produce, including their blossoming flowering plants for potential buyers.

Navarro said that he maximizes a 1,000-square-meter open space near their residence, owned by his parents, to cultivate his flowering plants. Every week, he can sell 40 to 50 bundles of flowers for P100 per bundle in Sagay, a city located 56 kilometers north of Murcia town.

Sometimes, Navarro also sells his produce at a market in Bacolod City, as well as to walk-in and offshore flower enthusiasts, he said. He even went to Antique province last week to sell his produce to an offshore buyer.

Navarro said that every time he earns money from his farm produce, a portion of it goes to his school projects, and the remainder goes to his family’s needs.

On weekdays, he spends two hours at his farm, ensuring there are no pests that would affect the quality of his flowers, and on weekends, he dedicates his entire day to the farm, he said.

Navarro shared how exhausting it is to work in the fields while keeping in mind the academic requirements he needs to fulfill when the week begins.

“Even though I am tired from selling my produce outside my hometown, I still have to finish my school tasks during the weekdays because that is what I am supposed to do as a student,” he said.

Navarro is currently a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree at Central Philippines State University (CPSU) – Murcia Extension Class.

Navarro said he chose an information technology course because it is more affordable compared to other available courses. 

He admitted that sometimes he needs to be absent from his classes to work in the field and sell his flowers to generate income.

“Our financial status has urged me to keep going amind hurdles because I know that with time, everything will fall into place,” Navarro said.

Navarro believes that having a strong drive and determination to achieve his dreams will eventually lead him to his life goals.

“For me, poverty is more of a challenge that I must overcome to realize my goals in life,” he said.

“I am not just fighting for myself, but also for my parents, who have been there through thick and thin. We may not have a luxurious life, but I am proud to have a strong support system from them,” he added.

Navarro told Rappler that whatever life may throw at him, he is more than ready to face it with the hope that one day he will succeed in life. –

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